How To Improve Sex Without Offending Your Partner

Sex is like pizza — when it's good, it's really good, and when it's bad, you kind of want to throw a temper tantrum because it isn't supposed to be bad, damn it. Whether it's pizza, sex, or sexy pizza, if you're going to invest your time and emotions into something, you want to actually be able to enjoy it. But when you're continuously hooking up with someone, you can't just throw them into the garbage if the sex sucks. Telling someone they are anything less than fantastic in bed is not something any of us ever want to deal with, but sometimes, it just has to be done. So how do you make bad sex better?

Even though a survey of 1,002 adults by The Journal of Sexual Medicine has revealed that 80 percent of both men and women are satisfied with their sex lives, only 39 percent said that they wouldn't change a thing about their intimate time with their partner. Whether the person in question is a long-term significant other or just a friend-with-benefits that's great at being a friend but lacking in benefits, having a good time while naked is crucial to maintaining a healthy sexual relationship.

I've been on both the giving and receiving end of bad sex, and neither one feels particularly great. I'll never forget the time a boyfriend that I really loved looked me straight in the eye and said, "I don't enjoy having sex with you. I'm not sure why, because I've never had this problem with other girls." He didn't say outright that I was the problem, but his comparison of me to other women was all I needed to know. The insecurities that blossomed from his statement and general unwillingness to be intimate with me ultimately destroyed our relationship and made me terrified to have sex when I finally met someone new.

The good thing that came out of my ex's insensitivity was that I was more prepared when a later partner wasn't stellar in bed himself. He liked to "vajackhammer" instead of doing, well, anything else with his hips, and his idea of oral was sticking his tongue in and out of my vagina. I knew that I had to say something, not only for my sake, but for his sake and the sake of all the other women in his future. We both exited the conversation feeling relieved, nobody's self-esteem was stomped into smithereens, and sex got so. much. better.

I've come to figure out that some techniques work better than others when it comes to fixing this delicate problem and not offending your partner. If your partner could stand to improve their moves in bed, try these techniques to gently and eloquently help them see how they can get better. And for the love of everything that is holy, do not tell them how much better your ex was.

1. Focus On The Positive

If you want to discourage your partner from ever having sex with you again, by all means, tell them how you hate this, that, and the other thing about what they do in bed. But if you want to improve your sex life with them, focus on what they do that you really enjoy. Even if it's just for a moment, a single "Don't stop," goes a long way. If your partner does literally zero things in bed that you enjoy, try out the other tips on this list and give them something to work with.

2. Use "I" Statements

Knowing how to please someone in bed can be tough since different people enjoy different things. Rather than making your partner feel like they just generally suck in bed, say things like, "I love it when you do that with your fingers," or "Can we switch it up? I think that position is better than this position." By putting the focus on yourself and what you personally enjoy rather than your partner's shortcomings, you can avoid crushing their sexual souls.

3. Say "Ouch" If It Hurts

I have read so many stories about people who have recounted times when sex was actually hurting them and they kept their mouths shut so as not to "ruin the moment." Don't. Do. This. Sex should be enjoyable, but before that, it should be painless. If it hurts that bad and you're not in a BSDM situation, it could mean a host of things: there might not be enough lubrication, it might be a rough position, it could be a case of big penis/small vagina, or you might even have a health problem. Take all the time you need to figure out why it's hurting, but before that, say "ouch." Your partner can't possibly know if they're hurting you if you don't vocalize your pain. Once they're aware that whatever is happening right now does not feel good, you can both work together to find a solution. Trust me, sucking it up is ruining the moment way more than you think it is.

4. Show Them What You Like

Bonus: this technique is also the perfect way to tease your partner. If they aren't the listening type, use your own hands or toys to demonstrate exactly how you like it. You can even work it seamlessly into a sex session— it's great foreplay, and you could even pull the "hot sex ed. teacher" card and treat them as your student while you give them step-by-step instructions on how to make you orgasm.

5. Take Control Of The Situation

If they prefer a more hands-on approach to sex, give it to them... but make sure you're the one at the wheel. If they're using their hands on you, guide them with your own hand on top. Switch up sex positions to ensure that you're the one controlling all the movements, then use positive statements to emphasize how much you love how it feels. For example, if his general course of action is to use his dick like a jackhammer, but you prefer it slow and deep, get on top, do your thing, and tell him, "I love feeling your cock slowly sliding deep inside me." Or whatever you're into. Adverbs turn me on.

6. Suggest New Things

Some people are just sexually inexperienced and have no idea how to spice things up under the sheets. If your partner seems to have only picked up one move they saw in a bad porno, suggest trying out something new so they can add some techniques to their repertoire. Be patient — getting good at sex takes experience, and if your partner doesn't have a lot, the only way they're going to get better is if you help them along the way.

7. Talk To Them

When all else fails (or even if all else goes pretty well), just be honest. Find a time outside of sexual activities to explain that while you love being intimate with your partner, the actual sex could use some work. Explain to them that you can work together to make your time beneath the sheets even better, and that, again, this is just what you prefer rather than them being horrendous in bed. They probably won't feel like sunshine and rainbows, but having one (or more than one) slightly awkward conversation is definitely worth having a sex life that both of you can enjoy more.

Want more of Bustle's Sex and Relationships coverage? Check out our video on sex positions for small penises:

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